Always made-up and dressed understatedly chic (we've never seen her without her perfectly blow-dried hair), Gina Lorenzana, Vice President of Personal Care at Unilever Philippines, is a real-life superwoman who has spearheaded Unilever's memorable campaigns like Cream Silk's Hair Sonata, TRESemme Runway Ready, and Pond's Beautiful Story. And yet, however busy she is, she still manages to be a loving mom who never fails to attend to her kids' needs. Below, she shares some of her secrets to a successful and enjoyable work life.
Under your leadership, Unilever's brands have initiated many local ads and activations that are now being benchmarked and applied globally. What makes our local campaigns different from other Unilever campaigns around the region?
We've been lucky that we've had a lot of successes. Some recent ones would be the Cream Silk Hair Sonata or Closeup Forever Summer Music Festivals. These campaigns were developed in the Philippines and then shared globally, which hasn't only made brands famous but also brought it market success. I think what sets us apart is our ability to be truly "glocal"—to act like a company with global scale, and yet be very locally relevant to people we serve.
"I believe people all have different strengths and it is up to the leaders to harness these strengths, depending on the needs of the organization. Right skills for the right roles. It is [also] about having shared values."
We asked around and found out that you have a "Dragon Lady" reputation. Does that faze you? Or, do you cultivate it?
[Laughs.] I was really quite intense when I was younger, but I have actually already mellowed down through the years. I think people get that impression because I tend to hold very high standards for myself and so they put pressure on themselves to meet that standard. Over the past couple of years, though, I've chosen my battles and narrowed down on fewer priorities. This has made me a lot more relaxed now.
You have three kids. How do you maintain work-life balance?
For me, there is no work-life balance. There is only life. So you must integrate work into your life. That means putting your priorities in order first, then letting work and everything else follow. In my case, my husband and my kids are very important to me. So I make sure I have a lifestyle that enables me to spend time and enjoy life with them—dinners, weekends, holidays, important events like their football games or student-led conferences, or simply being there at any activity or moment that means a lot to them. So, the career choices I've made and the schedule I maintain at work have always been deliberate.
To read the rest of our interview with Gina Lorenzana, download a copy of our September issue here.
Main image photographed by BJ Pascual.